Today Google is taking a step toward providing data on real-time events with its latest update to Google Trends.
The big update refreshes the Google Trends homepage and allows for more detailed research of events with up-to-the-minute information.
The Google Trends homepage now highlights stories that are trending in Google Search and on YouTube. The new homepage will be available in 28 countries starting today. Users will also be able to get insight on the more than one billion searches that happen every month on Google, see real-time information on a given topic, and search for data from a specific time period.
Trends will also feature curated data sets created by the Google News team. Journalists and others interested in creating their own data sets can check out the Google Trends Github page.
Google is touting this update as “the biggest expansion of Google Trends since 2012,” when the company merged Search Insights into Trends. This latest update not only allows more users to interact with Google’s data, it also appears as more of a competitive product to Twitter’s Trends tool.
Twitter has been pushing itself as a forum for interacting with events as they’re happening. The company put a lot of manpower into creating real-time insights during the 2014 FIFA World Cup and into covering the U.S. election cycle. Twitter compiled tweets and offered analysis on how its audience was reacting to the various events as they were happening. Both events bolstered engagement on the platform.
Further cementing its position as a forum for real-time conversation, the company replaced its Discovery and Activity pages with one combined Search and Trends page earlier this year. The update features Trends more prominently, showing users what’s popular (or unpopular) on Twitter anytime they want to search for something on the platform.
There’s likely to be some overlap between Google Trends and Twitter’s Trends page, because both analyze the news cycle. Where Google is able to analyze the kinds of stories people are searching for, Twitter relies on social data, which may give the platform a leg up on delivering faster results. For instance, some people start tweeting about an event before it hits the media.
Still, Google has a larger user base and vast amounts of user data from its mail service and other applications. If Google could find a way to work social data into Trends, Twitter might really have something to worry about.
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